Back to Top

George Scott's statement on the fate of DACA

The Trump administration’s decision this week to overturn Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is the wrong decision -- politically, economically, and morally.  It has been presented to our nation as a legal necessity, an action that would restore the rule of law.  But it fundamentally misunderstands the purpose of laws.  Laws are designed to promote justice.  Laws are designed to protect people, especially those who are vulnerable.  People don’t exist to serve laws.  Laws exist to serve people, to improve our communities and our nation.

The roots of DACA go back to 2001, when Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) co-sponsored the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (the DREAM Act).  The purpose was to provide a pathway to permanent legal status for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children. That point is crucial, because it means that they, as children, were not making the decision to enter the country improperly.  Their parents made those decisions, often acting in order to protect their children from danger -- a fundamental instinct of any parent!   

The initial effort to pass the Dream Act failed.  Since then, either as stand alone legislation or as an amendment to other legislation, the DREAM Act has been reintroduced eight times. In every case, it was defeated by either House or Senate Republicans, many of whom previously supported it.

In 2012, frustrated by Congress’ inability to enact laws that would address this issue in a humane and effective way, President Obama created DACA through an executive order.  Under DACA, the United States would stop deporting undocumented immigrants who met the criteria proposed in the DREAM Act*, and applied for protection to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Since then, more than 800,000 Dreamers have registered for protected status under DACA. 

Politically, ending DACA is not about responding to the will of the majority.  According to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, most Americans, including majorities in both parties, support DACA.  84 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of independents and 69 percent of Republicans think the Dreamers should be allowed to stay in this country. In Washington, leaders of both parties support DACA.

Economically, ending DACA doesn’t make sense.  If Congress does nothing -- which they are prone to do -- after six months employers will have to begin firing one thousand employees a day for the next two years.  The cost to recruit, hire, and train replacements will exceed $200 million a month.  The Center for American Progress estimates that ending DACA will cost the US economy more than $400 billion over the next decade and hundreds of thousands of jobs currently held by US citizens, as their employers will no longer be able to operate.

Despite this broad-based support for DACA and the economic cost of ending it; despite his assurances to Dreamers that he would deal with the DACA issue “with great heart”; on September 5 the President, through Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced his plans to dismantle DACA in six months, should Congress fail to act.  

Who are these Dreamers, these undesirables that the President portrays as a threat to our country?  They are men and women who came to the U.S. as children.  They have lived here for years, many of them for most of their lives.  They were educated in our schools.  Their primary language is English.  Most are between the ages of 15 and 36.  97 percent of them are either students or in the workforce. They are members or veterans of our armed forces.  They are college students and homeowners and entrepreneurs. They pay taxes and create jobs. They are exactly the types of people we should be encouraging to immigrate to the United States!

No one can argue that our immigration policies don't need reform. But, the place to start that reform is not holding the best and brightest of our undocumented immigrant population hostage. Threatening our Dreamers, solely for the purpose of short-term political gain, is both bad policy and bad politics.  It is not only devoid of compassion; it defies common sense. 

As a nation, we can do better than this.  We must do better than this.  Our moral standing has been built over the course of centuries in large part upon our willingness to compassionately care for those who are vulnerable.  Not because we must, but because it is the right thing to do.  So let’s do right by the Dreamers.  Let’s condemn this ill-advised decision, and let’s work together -- across party lines -- to come up with a law that will protect and serve our communities and our nation, a law that will promote justice for a group of remarkable people.

*DREAM Act criteria:  To qualify for Dreamer status, an immigrant must have arrived in the United States as a minor child; have proof of residence in the United States for at least five consecutive years since their arrival; be between the ages of 12 and 35; be enrolled in or graduated from an American high school, obtained a GED, or been admitted to an institution of higher education; pass a criminal background check; and be of good moral character.

Committee to send George Scott to Congress
Powered by - Political Campaign Websites